Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick
Review by KMWhen a book is attempting to instill fear in me, there is one thing that always works: being realistic. Werewolves, vampires, and zombies aren’t going to send shivers up my spine, but the idea of nuclear war or science gone wrong will leave me aching for a nightlight and my teddy bear. Ashes made me want more than a nightlight and it totally beat out the monsters hiding in my closet. In fact, it made the monsters under my bed want to crawl underneath the covers to hide with me!

Alex is just trekking across a mountain and trying to come to terms with her parents’ deaths when an electromagnetic pulse destroys all the technology that the world has become used to. Some people crash down to the ground, dead on the spot, others turn into malicious cannibals that have lost their humanity, and the rest are spared. Except being spared doesn’t make life any easier. With all electronics disabled, communications are down and so are chances of survival.


As a firm fan of the Saw movies, Ashes freaked me out. There were a few scenes that were described in such detail that I started to worry that I’d be eaten next. During these scenes, I’d try to put the book down and watch something cheerful, but the plot would beckon me to the next point, urging me forward, despite my dismay at the gore.

Alex is everything I’d hope to be in a desperate situation. She thinks rationally and makes decisions that the reader can understand and sympathize with. While she tries to blot out her emotions entirely, she cannot achieve it and it makes the book a touch more realistic to see her suffer because of contradicting feelings. Partnered with eight year old Ellie, who has been forced to mature quickly, and a young soldier, Tom, the characters remain dear to your heart while reading.

Be warned, Ashes is the beginning of a trilogy. While I’m looking forward to both Shadows and Monsters, waiting has never been my strong point. If you’re like me and will end up begging the author for hints, small passages, and leaks from the next book, you might be better waiting to read the whole series in one go.

With so many new dystopian-esque novels being released, Ashes cuts away from the cloth to reveal something that is so authentic that you’ll find yourself wandering online to order a stockpile of supplies.

*Review originally posted on The Magic Hoodie Lit Society

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s